Noteworthy Report: March 2017

Welcome my friends to a very, VERY late Noteworthy Report of Against The Fragmentaire. As you know, ATF is a project I run on my free time, and these past two months were busy as fvck putting me off track.

In today’s overcrowded metal scene, more than 100 albums get released every month, and March had more than his fair share of “big” releases, from the highly anticipated fourth album of Woe, to a new Forteresse release, and from the –also highly anticipated– furious album of The Furor to the debut of all-star Doedsvangr. On top of the fierce competition for fan attention, Mastodon released their new album which –as uninspired as it is– overshadowed pretty much everything else.

Yet the underground never sleeps; if you aren’t easily entertained by the “low hanging fruit”, March came with some impressive gifts that passed under the radars of big publications. Without further ado, these are some of the most noteworthy releases.

 

Vacivus – Nuclear Chaos

The UK blackened deathsters (ala-Portal) return with a short but killer EP. Soul crushing riffs reduce everything to dust. Nuclear Chaos is upon us, embrace it or perish!

 

Harvest Gulgaltha – Altars Of Devotion

In a similar vein, Harvest Gulgaltha play “cryptic necromantic black death metal”, or in other words, minimal blackened death. The majority of the album is slow-paced and feels like sinking in quicksand. So much gloom and despair it feels otherworldly.

 

Mistveil – Amnesia

This is quite a debut from my compatriots Mistveil. They play melodic doom/death metal in the vein of Saturnus and early Draconian. I personally enjoy such music during the cold winter nights, but this is just my preference and timing isn’t a factor of quality in any case. You don’t want to miss it!

 

Nordland – European Paganism

This here is an album with what I call a “barrier-to-entry”. The first minutes of the album feel like they pointlessly thrust in every direction, but at some point you get what they try (and ultimately manage) to do. The album is exactly what the title says: they pick threads from pagan black all over Europe, and join them in a unique piece of art. You will hear Enslaved (both early and late), Ancient Rites, Fen and a bunch of other influences beautifully married in unity. A really interesting as well as demanding listen.

 

Wormwood – Ghostlands: Wounds From A Bleeding Earth

The Swedish folk black-metallers released their debut album this month. Filled with mostly awesome stuff, fans of Thyrfing and Amon Amarth will want to check it out. There are some odd, off-putting, Iron Maiden-ish moments here and there, but I guess this never killed anyone…

 

Pillorian – Obsidian Arc

Born just this past summer by veterans of the scene (including John Haughm of ex-Agalloch), Pillorian released their debut album in March, sharing their take on avant-garde folk black metal. If you’re a fan of USBM don’t skip this album…

 

In the following days I will release the April NWR, as well as a special NWR of releases that I listened and cared enough to share but fell through the cracks of time and ultimately never got to talk about them. So stay tuned, and as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

SMT/ATF Episode 1: Greece

This is the article that started the whole series. I can’t remember exactly when it was originally posted, but I know the “first season” lasted for 12 episodes, one every week, all the way to the last week of 2011. I left the text unedited, even if it doesn’t make much sense out of the SMT context. I may come back and alter stuff if I find a serious reason for that, but for now this is enough…
–Tragon

 

This is an article about the weird cases of metal (and not only) music: those who were behind the scenes, never really getting as much of a hype but having a magnitude of their own, trying a different path and even pushing the envelope.

Big K gave me the idea for this article when he recently answered to some band and brought forth the issue of similarity and homogenization of today’s music. I personally feel that most modern bands don’t have a character. Over 90% of metalcore bands play the exact same things, are inspired by the exact same band(s) and if you make a compilation with a song from each one and put it in shuffle you can’t really tell which band is playing at any moment. Hopefully someone around these waters will find new inspiration in the following bands and, why not, invent a brand new genre…

 

Let’s take a closer look at Necromantia: a band that was formed by bassists and insisted on using distorted 8-string bass instead of guitars, or using whatever instrument they saw fit to create their atmospheres, even saxophones! They created some awesome black metal unlike anything you might have heard before. I think the first song I ever heard from them was “Spiritforms of the Psychomancer” but the song that still haunts me to this day is “The Arcane Light of Hecate”. Make sure to listen just after 2:25…

 

On Thorns I Lay is one of those bands that couldn’t sit too long in one genre. They started as eerie melodic death metal, close to the sound of Septic Flesh, but later they explored the waters of alternative metal mixing in some strings, with much success…

 

Ever thought what Septic Flesh would sound like if you strip them from all their –trademark– melodic death metal? Chaostar is a project of S.F. members doing exactly that. This is cinema material peeps!

 

Another band that has gone to great lengths but still remains a hidden treasure for a lot of people is Acherontas (formerly known as Stutthof). Their powerful and melodic black metal meshes well with the occult, promoting wampyrism and ancient Egyptian myths the proper way (THUNDERS and HAWKS and Ks and Js, you see what I did there). “Tat Tvam Asi” was just the –new– beginning…

 

One of the weirdest Hellenic acts is of course Daemonia Nymphe, who set to recreate the lost pagan music of ancient Greece. They created actual representations of the instruments the ancients used and released some of the most amazing music I have ever witnessed. It is no wonder that they are still unknown to the majority of Christian population of Greece, even after a lot of well-known singers (like Alkinoos Ioannides) participated in their songs, but they are respected by black metal fans all over the country (so much that Lord Impaler even made a tribute song to them called “Hymn To The Nymphe”), both because they are true and of course their origins…

 

So, what is the weird side of metal music in your countries?